Gonzalez v. Wong

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 12-07-2011
  • Case #: 08-99025
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Clifton for the Court; Circuit Judges O’Scannlain and Fletcher
  • Full Text Opinion

When considering new evidence in the habeas corpus claim of a state prisoner under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a district court may stay proceedings to allow the defendant to present that evidence to the state court.

Gonzalez was convicted of murdering a police officer and sentenced to death. The district court denied Gonzalez’s habeas corpus claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Ninth Circuit noted that new evidence, revealed through discovery granted by the district court, could support a colorable Brady claim because the State improperly withheld impeachment evidence about one of it's important witnesses. The Ninth Circuit also noted that Cullen v. Pinholster limited federal courts to review only the record that was available to the state court when considering an appeal for habeas corpus under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit vacated the denial of Gonzalez’s Brady claim and “remand[ed] that claim to the district court with instructions to stay proceedings to permit Gonzales to present the claim to the California Supreme Court.” VACATED and REMANDED.

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